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Huge Fredonia crowd rallies for Small Business Revolution

By TODD J. TRANUM

President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier

More than 400 people turned out to provide a rousing welcome for the Small Business Revolution team in Fredonia! It was enthused and passionate crowd at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House, despite cold and a flurry of snow.

Julie Gordon, Director of Marketing Partnerships and Erica Adams, Content Strategy & Partnerships Manager, said they “felt like celebrities” when they entered to thunderous applause. “We generally get a warm welcome to a community,” Ms. Gordon said, “but nothing like this.”

With much of the crowd decked in Small Business Revolution tee shirts and holding signs, they cheered F-R-E-D-O-N-I-A and “We’re Number One!” The group spanned all age ranges from very young to seniors, with a huge representation of local business people.

Mayor elect Doug Essek has been working with the local committee to get ready for the Small Business Revolution visit. He was master of ceremonies for the short rally, describing the variety of businesses in Fredonia and the nature of the village. He also showed a short video which had been quickly produced for the occasion and featured a number of local business people.

The advance team for Small Business Revolution, an original series by Deluxe, visited Fredonia as one of the Top Ten Towns. It’s important to note that more than 6,000 communities were nominated, and Fredonia was listed in the Top Ten! But we are still in competition and there is still work to do. Deluxe will choose the Top 5 towns, who will then vie for a chance to win $500,000 in revitalization funds from Deluxe and Small Business Revolution! If Fredonia makes it into that round, there will be a public voting process open online for a one week period, starting January 14.

Social media is key to this effort and here’s how everyone can continue to help:

≤ Post your best stories, memories, and photos of Fredonia on your social media feeds and use #myfredonia to help bring attention to the cause

≤ Tag @smallbizrevolution in your posts

≤ Push all of your posts to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Small Business Revolution airs on Hulu and Amazon Prime and features Amanda Brinkman and Ty Pennington.

This is a tremendous opportunity for Fredonia and for all of Chautauqua County. If you have questions, you can call or email the Fredonia Community Chamber Coordinator, Dave Kleparek, at (716) 366-6200 or dkleparek@chautauquachamber.org. Thanks for your participation!

Many Thanks to the Chamber Board

The Chamber of Commerce annual meeting highlighted the amazing accomplishments outlined by National Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson and was an opportunity to recognize Betsy Wright with the Pam Lydic Coalition Builder Award. The Chamber’s annual meeting also serves as a business meeting including leadership changes and changes in the general Board of Directors.

Leaving the board was Curt Anderson, an E-Commerce consultant who has served for several years on the Chamber Board. Curt has been more than just a board member. He has been a cheerleader for the Chamber, and for that we are grateful. He served a two-year term as Chair, and then two more years as Immediate Past Chair on our Executive Committee, bringing insights and ideas to the board. Also leaving the board were David Dengler, Neil Frederick, and Michael Pucci. David Dengler served as the representative from the Fredonia Community Chamber and has often been a valuable voice on the board for several years. Neil Frederick with Bush Industries brought a larger business perspective to our board and also served as both Secretary and Treasurer during his term. Michael Pucci shared the important viewpoints of a retail business person. All of these individuals helped to guide our organization through some changes over the past few years such as upgrading the Chamber website, launching the Shoptauqua Gift Card program and deployment of our human resource and compliance platform. We thank them all for their leadership and valuable service.

As a new year begins, Brian Bugaj of Nestle Purina PetCare is transitioning from Chair to Immediate Past Chair. We are fortunate to have him remaining on the board in this capacity. Our new Chair is Fred Johnson of Johnson-Estate Winery, who also serves as the representative for the Westfield-Barcelona Community Chamber of Commerce. Vice Chair is Matthew Churchill of Water Street Brass. Treasurer is Heather Brown of The Resource Center. The Immediate Past Chair is Brian Bugaj of Nestle Purina PetCare. New Board members for 2020 are Robert Manning of Manning’s Fireside Manor and Michele Joy of Til You Drop Shoppe, who is also representing the Fredonia Community Chamber. Continuing on the board are Kris Maytum of DFT Communications and Emily Reynolds of Cornell Cooperative Extension. Other representatives for Community Chambers continuing on the board are: Dunkirk, Elizabeth Booth of JCC North; Hanover, Rick Klisiewicz, consultant; Jamestown, Vicki McGraw of Elegant Edibles Catering; and Mayville-Chautauqua, Sally Andriaccio of Andriaccio’s Restaurant.

The Chamber Board of Directors is a diverse group of people representing a variety of business interests countywide. We are fortunate to have their input and support.

Purchase Shoptauqua Gift Cards by Dec. 20 for Christmas

Shoptauqua gift cards are on sale now through the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, but we urge potential buyers to place their orders soon. Please plan to make your purchase by December 20 for Christmas giving, as the holiday falls at mid-week and our offices will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Since the inception of the Shoptauqua program it has had an over 3 million dollar impact on the community. The program drives direct sales to our local businesses, including attractions, retail shops, restaurants, wineries, and more. With 150 merchants participating from all over Chautauqua County you can use the Shoptauqua gift card to purchase staple household items or a fun day out on the town! The Shoptauqua program boosts our local economy.

Anyone can purchase Shoptauqua gift cards in amounts ranging from $5 to $500. It can be a great gift for groups of employees, or for individuals. To learn more call the Chamber of Commerce at 366-6200 or 484-1101 or visit www.shoptauqua.com.

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